Health plan premiums are headed up more steeply in the Southeast than in other areas next year, but the region will experience the slowest growth in per-capita medical costs.
Pennsylvania-based Sherlock Corp., a managed care research and consulting company, reports that nationwide, employers expect premiums to rise significantly — 8.3 percent. Southeastern employers say their premiums are rising, on average, 9.6 percent, while at the low end, purchasers in the Mid-Atlantic region anticipate an average 7.3-percent hike.
Simultaneously, Sherlock foresees a 2.4 percentage-point decrease in medical-loss ratios — translating into a 5.3-percent increase in medical care costs for managed care organizations. Medical-loss ratios will show the most improvement in the Southeast — 5.9 percentage points — while a 1-point rise is predicted in some plains states.